Published: Thu, June 21, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Spain back on track after nervous win over Iran

Spain back on track after nervous win over Iran

Iran's last three World Cup goals had all come in the final 15 minutes of matches and they continued to press Spain for a leveler and nearly succeeded on 83 minutes but Taremi headed over.

Spain beat Iran 1-0 at the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Wednesday to draw level with Portugal at the top of Group B and set the stage for a climactic final day in one of the tournament's must-watch pools.

Hierro's main concern, however, will be that Spain are able to break down an obdurate Iranian defence that conceded only five times in 18 qualifiers and get the goals they need to give them the best chance of topping Group B. But Spain struggled when put under any serious pressure; they will still expect to face sterner, more clinical opposition as these weeks go on, and the challenge is both single and urgent.

Costa claimed his third goal of the tournament in the 54th minute at Kazan Arena but the striker hardly knew about it, the ball deflecting off his legs from an attempted clearance by hapless Iran defender Ramin Rezaeian.

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They are yet to score a goal of their own, but, Iran will be buoyed by that win and Spain shouldn't take such a defensively resilient side lightly.

Nine minutes into the second-half, David Silva played an early pass to Costa upfront who received the ball at the edge of the box.

62' - GOAL! Iran 1-1 Spain (Ezatolahi) The free-kick is curled in nastily, a scramble, a drive into the net, and we're checking VAR to see if the decision to disallow it for offside is correct.

But the thousands of Iranian supporters that filled the stadium with the sound of vuvuzelas throughout were left disappointed when it was ruled out for offside. "We're still alive and dreaming".

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After watching the match, some have been impressed by Iran's terrific and resilient performance against Hierro's side.

Spain seemed rejuvenated after the interval, with Sergio Busquets unleashing a searing long-range strike that forced Beiranvand into a brilliant double save.

In the final quarter hour Iran battled for a late equaliser, but after Vahid Amiri showed class to nutmeg Pique deep on the left and fire over an inviting cross, Taremi's thundering header flew just over the bar as a relieved De Gea looked on.

It appeared that Beiranvand exaggerated his pain after Costa stood on his foot.

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"In the first half they were provoking us all the time".

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